The Rev. Ted Engelbrecht, who started the Synod’s humanitarian work in Vietnam and served there for 15 years, has received the Peace and Friendship Award from the Vietnamese government.
Engelbrecht, who relocated to the Portland, Ore., area in July, received the award Sept. 8 while he was in Hanoi for the opening of Concordia International School Hanoi. He currently serves part time as the Synod’s education facilitator for Asia, and also will begin teaching at Concordia University, Portland, in January.
The award honors those who have made positive contributions toward relationships between foreign non-governmental organizations and the Vietnamese government.
It was presented to Engelbrecht by the director general of the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee, who praised the LCMS worker’s long service to Vietnam. While there as a staff member of LCMS World Mission, Engelbrecht helped set up and administer rural development and nutrition projects in partnership with the National Institute of Nutrition, and worked with LCMS volunteers from the United States who taught English.
“I think that for an American Lutheran pastor to receive such an award from a Communist Vietnamese government shows that anything is possible in Vietnam, and that the government and people of Vietnam are serious about moving forwards and not looking backwards — and that work that is done for the benefit of the people is recognized and appreciated,” Engelbrecht told Reporter via email.
He said he accepted the award “on behalf of all of the Vietnamese and American teams and donors that helped do the work that made it possible” and “because it shows … that people who were once ‘enemies’ can be taught to be friends and can learn from each other in many ways and on many levels.”
Posted Nov. 10, 2011